HomeBora BoraScenic Ferry Ride from Tahiti to Bora Bora: Views & Tips

Scenic Ferry Ride from Tahiti to Bora Bora: Views & Tips

Embarking on a journey from Tahiti to Bora Bora isn’t just a trip; it’s an adventure that offers stunning views of French Polynesia’s gems along the way. If you’re up for the voyage and the chance to soak in the beauty of the islands, the ferry might be your perfect choice.

I’ve navigated the waters between these tropical paradises and I’m here to share the ins and outs of taking the ferry. It’s a lengthy 8-hour and 40-minute ride, but for those who don’t mind the time, it’s an experience filled with breathtaking scenery and a taste of island hopping.

Ferry Services from Tahiti to Bora Bora

When planning a trip from Tahiti to Bora Bora, the ferry service is an essential part of the journey. It’s a gateway to experiencing the miraculous beauty of the South Pacific, revealing panoramic views of the ocean and the islands.

Different Ferry Operators

My travels taught me about the different ferry operators that run services through the Society Islands. The leading service for the Tahiti to Bora Bora route is the Apetahi Express, known for its swift crossings. While other ferries like the Aremiti and Moorea Ferry connect Tahiti to nearby Moorea, they don’t continue to Bora Bora. What stands out about Apetahi Express is not just their exclusive route but their reputation for quality service and friendly staff. On the other hand, to transport goods and sometimes passengers between these islands, there’s the Vaeanu and Hawaiki Nui—larger cargo ferries with passenger cabins.

Schedule and Timings

Checking the schedule before planning your travels is as important as packing sunscreen for the Pacific sun. The Apetahi Express typically has up to five boats per week sailing to Bora Bora. I’ve learned to always confirm the latest schedule from the company’s website or social media, especially since departure times can vary. These services usually kick off early in the morning, meaning any traveler would need to stay in Tahiti the night before departure.

Ticket Prices and Booking

Discussing ticket prices, I’ve noticed that they’re thoughtfully structured, with a set luggage allowance which means no worries about extra fees for your belongings. As for cars, it’s a no-go on the fast ferries, but the cargo ships have you covered if you need to transport a vehicle. Booking has been made easy and accessible with online platforms, offering services in English and providing distinction between resident and tourist fares. Reminder: always select the tourist option unless you can prove residency to avoid the last-minute hustle of extra charges.

Duration of the Journey

The ferry service from Papeete in Tahiti to Vaitape on Bora Bora is a significant part of this exotic adventure. Though not a quick hop, the journey takes approximately 8 hours and 40 minutes, covering a distance of 291 kilometers. This extended time on the water is a chance to immerse in the serenity and vastness of the ocean—moments that embrace the essence of island time. Despite the lengthy travel duration, the visual feast and the crisp ocean air make every minute aboard worthwhile, shaping memories that last far longer than the journey itself.

Choosing the Right Ferry

When planning a trip from Tahiti to Bora Bora, selecting the right ferry is crucial to ensure a pleasant journey. It’s not just about reaching your destination but also about how you get there.

Comfort and Amenities

The journey from Tahiti to Bora Bora can be long, lasting around 8 hours and 40 minutes. Thus, comfort is of the essence. The fast ferries, like the Apetahi Express, offer various amenities to make this experience enjoyable. Most passengers prefer windowside tables for the views; however, if you’re prone to seasickness, I’d recommend choosing a seat that faces forward. The rhythmic movement of the sea can be unsettling, but facing in the direction of travel can help mitigate the discomfort.

In terms of baggage, it’s important to note that only personal items and clothing are allowed. If you’re traveling with pets, ensure to have them properly crated with all necessary documents. Service dogs are an exception, as long as they’re leashed and muzzled. Remember, with limited space and considerations for fellow passengers, it’s best to pack light and essential.

Safety Measures

Onboard safety is a top priority, and the Apetahi Express doesn’t skimp on it. The crew ensures adherence to the highest safety standards to handle the choppy South Pacific waters. Passengers are under the authority of the Captain, who ensures everyone complies with all regulations and instructions for a safe trip.

One key rule is the prohibition of dangerous goods. You can’t bring any flammable, explosive, or dangerous materials on board. Also, smoking is strictly forbidden, including the use of electronic cigarettes, in line with local law n2009-04. It’s my job to keep you informed: any deviation from these rules not only poses a risk but could also lead to prosecution.

Should any issues arise, it’s critical to notify the Captain immediately and follow up in writing within 48 hours of unboarding. This protocol is there to protect you, ensuring any damage claims are properly handled.

Reviews and Recommendations

When planning your trip, look into reviews for insights on the service quality of the ferry you choose. The Apetahi Express is the sole operator for the route from Tahiti to Bora Bora and is well-regarded for its high-quality service and very hospitable staff. Passenger reviews consistently highlight the convenience of online bookings and the picturesque journey on their well-maintained vessels.

Keep in mind, the condition of the ship and the weather can affect schedules. Hence, it’s always a good idea to check with the ferry company before your trip to ensure a smooth sailing experience.

What to Expect on the Ferry

When considering the ferry ride from Tahiti to Bora Bora, it’s crucial to know what’s waiting for you on board. From breathtaking views to the amenities and interactions, you’ll find plenty to enrich your journey across the sea.

Scenic Views and Photo Opportunities

As the ferry departs from Papeete, I’m immediately struck by the captivating vistas unfolding before me. The transition from bustling harbor to serene ocean is magical. Whether departing at sunset or during daylight, the scenic views are unparalleled. It’s a photographer’s paradise, with the Society Islands rising majestically out of the South Pacific.

Moorea, our neighbor, appears draped in mystic cloud formations, casting an otherworldly glow perfect for impactful photos. As the ferry slices through the water, I always ensure my camera and extra batteries are at the ready. On the left side of the ferry, the views on the outward journey promise astounding beauty, and on the right side upon return, one can capture equally mesmerizing photos.

Onboard Facilities and Services

For comfort, there’s plenty. Fast ferries like the Apetahi Express offer cozy cabins, which I find to be essential for the most pleasant voyage possible. Sipping a warm drink from the small cafe while lounging at a window-side table – it doesn’t get much better than this. However, for those prone to seasickness, I’ve learned it’s wise to choose a forward-facing seat to minimize discomfort.

Staying informed and compliant is key. The ferry operates under clear regulations, and onboard discipline is maintained under the Captain’s authority. All I had to do was show my proof of transport, and I was all set. And yes, while carry-on baggage is allowed, it must be easy to manage and fit within the size limitations.

Interacting with Locals

On these trips, there’s a unique chance to mingle with the locals. I’ve found that the ferry staff and fellow passengers are warm and eager to share their insights into Tahitian culture. It’s a golden opportunity to learn from residents about the history and traditions of French Polynesia. Their tips often lead me to hidden gems on Bora Bora that would otherwise go unnoticed.

These conversations, infused with the locals’ innate pride in their homeland, offer an authentic experience that you won’t get from just any guidebook or website. There’s a sense of community on board that blends with the tranquil backdrop of these idyllic islands. It’s an aspect of travel I treasure; these shared moments and stories contribute to a tapestry of memories that go beyond the allure of Bora Bora’s sunsets and lagoons.

Exploring Bora Bora

Popular Attractions and Activities

One of the jewels of French Polynesia, Bora Bora boasts an array of memorable landmarks and activities. The Valley of Kings Trail stands out with its passage through ancient temples and archaeological sites, culminating at Ancesters Peak. For the thrill-seeking explorers, scaling Mount Otemanu offers an unmatched perspective of the island’s grandeur.

I’ve found that jet skiing and snorkeling are among the top ways to engage with the vibrant marine life surrounding the island. The combination of high-speed water action and serene underwater exploration forms a truly profound experience, one that’s impossible to miss in Bora Bora.

Beaches and Water Sports

Bora Bora’s beaches are the epitome of tropical paradise, with crystal-clear waters and powdery sands. The lagoon’s temperate, turquoise waters invite enthusiasts to dive into a variety of water sports. From paddleboarding with a waterproof backpack to a private sunset sailing catamaran tour, the experiences I’ve had on these beaches are etched in my memory forever.

Beyond the typical ventures, there’s opportunity for a more intimate sailing experience, especially alluring for honeymooners eager to witness the island’s sunsets from the placid sea.

Local Cuisine and Cultural Experiences

Tahitian flavors are an adventure for the palate. Starting the day with fresh croissants and pai banane from the local markets in Raiatea left a tantalizing impression on me. Sightseeing is only part of the Bora Bora adventure—sampling traditional delicacies is equally essential.

Private 4×4 tours offer an immersive cultural journey through Bora Bora, presenting both the breath-taking lookouts and the rich history and customs of the island. From myth enshrouded archaeological sites to the warm hospitality of the locals, each teaches me more about this Polynesian treasure.

As I continue my travels from Tahiti to Bora Bora, the experiences to be had are as varied as they are enriching. Whether it’s the adrenaline rush from conquering trails and waves or the subtle joy of a culinary discovery, Bora Bora doesn’t just meet expectations, it transcends them.


Stepping off the ferry from Tahiti, I’m always struck by the sheer beauty that Bora Bora offers. It’s not just about the journey; it’s the start of an adventure that promises both relaxation and excitement. Whether I’m exploring the lush trails, soaking in the views of Mount Otemanu, or indulging in the local flavors, there’s a richness to the experience that’s hard to capture in words. My time on the island, interacting with locals and diving into the culture, has shown me that Bora Bora isn’t just a destination; it’s a treasure trove of memories waiting to be made. So if you’re planning a trip, get ready for an escapade that will exceed every expectation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is a ferry ride from Tahiti to Bora Bora?

The cost for a ferry ride from Tahiti to Bora Bora will vary depending on the service provider and cabin class. It’s best to check the latest prices on the ferry company’s website.

What can passengers expect to see during the ferry ride to Bora Bora?

Passengers can enjoy scenic views of the Society Islands and Moorea, offering plentiful photo opportunities throughout the journey.

What facilities are available on the Apetahi Express?

The Apetahi Express offers cozy cabins and a small cafe onboard for passengers’ convenience and comfort.

Is it necessary to follow specific regulations on the ferry to Bora Bora?

Yes, passengers should stay informed about and comply with the ferry’s regulations to ensure a safe and pleasant journey.

What cultural experiences can travelers have on the ferry?

Travelers can interact with locals during the ferry ride, learn about Tahitian culture, and discover hidden gems on Bora Bora.

What attractions does Bora Bora offer beyond its natural beauty?

Bora Bora offers attractions like the Valley of Kings Trail, Mount Otemanu, beautiful beaches, water sports, local cuisine, and cultural experiences.

How does visiting Bora Bora surpass expectations?

With its array of varied and enriching experiences, Bora Bora provides more than just breathtaking natural beauty, ensuring a memorable travel adventure.

Avid traveler and lover of all things tropic! Dedicated to answering your questions on moving to a more simple and relaxed lifestyle.
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